Investigative Unit

Heroes in Exile

NBCUniversal, Inc.

After brilliant military careers, two immigrant servicemen were banished from the United States and deported to Mexico, cut off from their children and families.

Both Hector Barajas and Enrique Salas return to the U.S. as heroes, but in vastly different ways.

Hector Barajas and Enrique Salas were forced to work for desperately low wages in Mexico, living in squalor. But they discovered that they were not alone in their situations as deported veterans--hundreds of immigrant veterans have been deported by ICE, often for minor offenses.

Years of waiting and planning begin to pay off, and there is a ray of hope that some of the vets can gain citizenship. But then tragedy strikes.

NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit delved into the stories of Barajas and Salas, which ended in vastly different ways, and took those stories to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

As the network of underground veterans grows, NBC Bay Area finds that some have chosen to risk everything, by defying the law and stay in the United States. In Mexico, Hector Barajas, Enrique Salas and the other veterans hatch a plan to make their way back home.
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